Explosive violence by the Syrian armed forcesAOAV: all our reportsExplosive violence in Syria

17 killed and 35 injured in alleged Syrian shelling of Al-Bab, 19 Aug.

On the morning of Friday 19 Aug, at least five munitions struck residential areas and an outdoor market in Al-Bab city, eastern Aleppo. The attack left houses, commercial premises, and civilian infrastructure including a school devastated, killing at least 17 civilians, including six children, and injuring 35 more.

The Syrian Organisation for Human Rights (SOHR) notes that the munitions were fired from Syrian positions in northern Aleppo. If this is the case, this is the worse massacre perpetrated by Syrian forces in months. Al-Bab itself is held by Turkish-backed rebels. 

The attack comes amidst an escalation of explosive weapons use in Syria, with intensified shelling of towns and villages in contested areas. 

In 2022, AOAV has recorded 384 incidents of explosive weapon use in Syria, resulting in 851 civilian casualties (231 killed, 620 injured). At least 112 of those casualties are women, and 180 are children.

Civilians account for 54% of casualties of explosive weapon use in Syria in 2022. State actors are the reported perpetrators in the case of 57% of civilian casualties. 

Turkey has been the reported perpetrator in the case of 45% of civilian casualties in Syria in 2022, followed by Syria (35%), Russia (9%), unknown non-state actors (8%), and Israel (3%).

Shelling has reportedly caused the majority, 30%, of civilian casualties in Syria in 2022, followed by rockets and air strikes (27% respectively). 

Since 2010, AOAV has recorded 8,549 incidents of explosive weapon use in Syria, and a reported 80,401 civilian casualties.  In that time, civilians accounted for 82% of the total 97,934 reported casualties. State actors are the reported perpetrators in the case of 62% of civilian casualties in Syria since 2010. 

AOAV’s casualty figures represent the lowest of estimations in terms of the number of people killed and injured by explosive weapon use. In an effort to quantify the explicit harm caused by specific explosive weapons, AOAV solely records incident-specific casualty figures, as reported in English-language media.

AOAV condemns the use of violence against civilians and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. All actors should stop using explosive weapons with wide-area effects where there is likely to be a high concentration of civilians.